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Lehigh Valley sports shows help kick off fall seasons

KEMPTON - There are signs everywhere in the outdoors that the fall hunting and fishing seasons are getting closer and closer. One of the surest signs, however, is the arrival of the annual Lehigh Valley Hunting and Fishing Extravaganza at the Kempton Fairground.

This year's ninth annual event will be a two-day show, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., both days. As always, the emphasis of the show will be contests, skill competition and product demonstrations that make it the largest outdoors event of its kind in Eastern Pennsylvania.What has become one of the show's most popular features is the Top Dog Challenge and it returns for its fifth annual running, August 24 at 9 a.m. Sponsored by Pheasant Valley Farm and Cabela's, entry is free to the first 20 pointing or flushing dogs entered, and the competition is based on dogs having a maximum of eight minutes to find two separate caged birds.Last year, 13 dogs found both birds, four dogs found one bird and three dogs failed to find a bird. Top Dog was Hunter, a Brittany owned by Chester Jack of Douglassville, who found both birds in 1 minute 56 seconds. Cash, a Labrador owned by Brian Riley of Barto, found both birds in 2 minutes and Bella, a German shorthaired pointer, owned by Tim Gardner of Fleetwood, found both birds in 2:38.Once again the LVHFE's trademark skill competition will be held, with separate competition for adults and kids and a special event for Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts. Also back for the second straight year is the photo contest and this year's theme is "Nature's Beauty" and entries can be submitted at the Carbon County Environmental Center, White Bear.Last year, Donna Kruslicky of Summit Hill placed first and second in the photo contest and Tom Williams of Jim Thorpe placed third. Breanna Bliss of New Tripoli placed third in the junior miss skills competition."By condensing the show into the Saturday morning through Sunday format we've been able to expand the activities for participants and spectators," show co-director Bob Danenhower said. "Few shows offer as many hands-on activities geared to both kids and adults, and visitors can spend the day wandering the spacious fairground and stop by booths, demonstrations, displays, seminars and other attractions set up inside two large halls, under the roofed picnic pavilion and beneath the open sky."People should be sure to allow sufficient time to peruse a variety of activities certain to entertain, educate and enjoy in this rain-or-shine event. From training dogs to shooting muzzleloaders, there's something for everyone, so plan to come early and stay late."This is a family experience with adults from regional and statewide sportsmen's groups volunteering their time and talents as youth mentors of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youngsters attending the show. In addition, this has everything a regular sports show has with new products, sales of outdoor gear, outfitters, manufacturers with new products and a heck of a lot more, including a flea market of hunting and fishing gear."A partial listing of local organizations and sportsmen's clubs participating in the LVHFE: U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Delaware River Shad Fisherman's Association, German Shorthair Rescue, Lehigh Valley Ruffed Grouse Society, Pennsylvania Trappers Association, Walking Purchase and Jerry Zimmerman Chapters of he National Wild Turkey Federation, Federated Sportsmen's Clubs of Berks County, Lehigh County Federated Sportsmen's Clubs, United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania, Quality Deer Management Association, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, NWTF Women in the Outdoors, Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.Mark Wolfskill, owner Pheasant Valley Farm Shooting Preserve, and guide and dog trainer Karen Shannon are presenting free bird dog training seminars. These demonstrations will be presented Saturday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and focus on basic field obedience, introducing dogs to birds and gunfire and a demonstration with live birds.Two free drawing will be awarded Sunday, a Remington 870 Youth Model Shotgun and a duck hunt by Randy Birch of Chincoteague Island, Virginia. Also Sunday will be the auction of the 3-D archery targets that will be used during the weekend's shooting contests.For a complete schedule of events and information on the Lehigh Valley Hunting and Fishing Extravaganza access the show website at

www.lvhfe.com or call show directors Bob Danenhower at 610-398-7609 or Rick Weaknecht at 610-683-7405.

Mark Wolfskill, left, owner Pheasant Valley Farm Shooting Preserve, times a dog as it searches for a caged bird in the Top Dog Challenge, which will be held for the fifth consecutive year at the ninth annual Lehigh Valley Hunting and Fishing Extravaganza at the Kempton Fairground.